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Veterans Day Feature

Clay County has the pleasure of being home to 17 Gold-Star-Veterans. From the beaches of Normandy to the mountains of Korea, these valiant servicemen fought not only for their own lives; but for a future of democracy and freedom for all. Hailing from every division of the military, spanning every war since WWII, these men represent our strongest and bravest.

Delbert Ray Porter
By: Raegan Welty

Delbert Ray Porter, was born on May 7, 1949, to Herschel Wayne Porter and Kathryn Marie Williams Porter, and lived in Louisville, Illinois. Porter was in the Army and served in Vietnam. His tour started September 20, 1970, and he passed January 15, 1971. Porter’s specialty was Light Weapons Infantry. His rank was Private First Class, and his unit was 5th Infantry division, 1st Brigade, and Headquarters Company. Porter was located in South Vietnam, Quang Tri province. Porter died through hostile action by an explosive. As many as 2 million died all together on both sides and some 1.1 million North Vietnamese and Viet Cong fighters. U.S. military has estimated that between 200,000 and 250,000 South Vietnamese soldiers died.

Delbert was awarded five medals the five medals were; National Defense Service Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the Vietnam Service Medal.

One of Delbert’s friends quoted on website www.findagrave.com “Delbert was killed in Vietnam. I was told his outfit had to gather at some bleachers for a briefing by commanding officers, the Viet Cong had placed explosives on the bleachers; the Viet Cong detonated the explosives killing most everyone there, including Delbert.”

Delbert is buried in his hometown at the Red Brush Cemetery, Louisville, Illinois.

Clyde Robert Hoskins
By: Summer Williams

Private first class Clyde Robert Hoskins was born August 3, 1933 in Flora Illinois.

Clyde Robert Hoskins participated in the Korean conflict. His unit was Battery C, 50th Anti-Air Artillery Battalion Automatic weapons. While he was enlisted he won many awards such as a Korean service medal, National Defense Service medal, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation, Republic of Korea War Service Medal and United Nations Service Medal.

Hoskins did not die from hostiles, while assigned to suwon Air-Field (K-13) in South Korea, he was hit by flying debris when a F-80C fighter interceptor crashed during take off. He was buried in Flora Illinois cemetery Elmwood cemetery.

David Allen Worthey
By: Millennium Beland

David Allen Worthey was born on July 12, 1947 to Donald H Worthey and Evelyn Marie Forsman Worthey in Flora Illinois. In an interview Worthey’s sister Sue Morel stated “as a child, David was hardworking and took care of our mother.” She went on, “he wasn’t good in academia, but he was an amazing artist.”
While he was in school, David helped his dad and brother with the oil fields. After graduating Flora High School in 1966 he joined the Army, he was also the first soldier from vietnam fight in Vietnam. As a Corporal in the Army he worked in the light weight infantry while being being a tunnel rat. A tunnel rat is a soldier that performed an underground search and destroy missions during VIetnam Conflict. In the tunnels there were underground kitchens, hospitals, air raid shelters, store rooms, workshops and latrines. Some went down 18 feet and covered over 200 miles. The rats were armed with flashlights, knife, and a pistol, the job was to kill hiding enemies, plant explosives to destroy the tunnels, and find any counter intelligence that they could. They would fight the enemy hand-to-hand in a dark cramped, shallow tunnel, which was their territory. The enemies would know where they were going, but they did not. They didn’t know if death was waiting for them around one of the bends.
While in a tunnel David lost his life when he was gassed by the North Vietnamese on May 13, 1968. It took a month to get his body home to his family, but is now honored here in Flora at the library and the depot. After Worthey passed he was awarded with the National Defense Service medal, Combat Infantryman badge, Purple Heart Vietnam Campaign Medal, and the vietnam service medal.
In 1969 Flora City Council dedicated Worthey street, in honor of David Worthey, the street was also rededicated for him in 2013.

Leslie Edgar Etchason
By: Caitlin Moats

Leslie Edgar Etchason from Flora IL was born November 18, 1918. He was one of 6 children . He enlisted in the navy on October 15, 1940 in St. Louis Missouri at the age of 22. Etchason fought in the battle of Pearl Harbor and was aboard one of the eight ships the, USS Arizona. Etchason’s casualty was December 7, 1941 aboard the Arizona along with 1,177 other people . His body remains at the grave site in Honolulu along with 1,102 other people aboard the ship. He received a Purple heart.

Robert D. Staggs
By: Alyssa Schafer

At the age of 24, Robert D. Staggs joined the 25th infantry and started his tour on February 18,1969. On July 21,1969 Military Warrant Officer Robert Dale Staggs, of Louisville IL, piloted the Alt-1G as a replacement for the late Albert Jackson Davis in Hua Nghia, South Vietnam. This same day, Staggs lost his life along with George Grinnell, an officer in service with Staggs, when the helicopter “Cobra” either crashed, or became lost.
He is buried in the Old Union Cemetery located in Bible Grove, IL. He left behind a wife, best friend Donnie Worthey, brother Jerry Lee Staggs, and his parents, George and Helen Staggs of Hord.
Over the time he was in the Military, he was awarded National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal, and Vietnam Service Medal for his honorary services during the Vietnam conflict. To honor Staggs, his name was placed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on panel 20w, line 32.

Corporal Henry Eugene Copley Jr.
By: Devan Warren

Henry “Gene” Copley was born on June 17th, 1950 to Elvera J. Flexter and Henry E. Copley. Born in Flora, Il, he spent his youth the same way many young men and women did in 1950, hanging out with his friends, driving around, and having fun. According to a memorial left by a childhood friend, his friends knew him as Gene and the authorities knew him as trouble.
In the summer of 1968, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps to fight for his country in Vietnam. He arrived in Vietnam on May 15, 1970 and was assigned to the H&S Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st MARDIV (Rein) FMF. Unfortunately, after only two months of service he was killed in action, when a hostile Vietcong ran under an overhanging rock formation, detonating a hidden landmine underneath and sending shrapnel at both men. They were both evacuated to the USS Sanctuary where they died of the multiple fragmentation wounds they sustained. He was then buried at Elmwood cemetery in Flora.
This Veterans Day we remember Corporal Copley for his valiant service, and ultimate sacrifice in the name of freedom and democracy.